SUBMITTED TO:     Trade Negotiations Consultations

                                                Trade Policy Consultations and Liaison Division


                                                Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

                                                Lester B. Pearson Building

                                                125 Sussex Drive

                                                Ottawa, Ontario

                                                K1A 0G2



            SUBMITTED BY:     Craig Forcese


Visiting Professor,

Faculty of Law,

University of Ottawa

57 Louis Pasteur St.    

P.O. Box 450, Stn. A

Ottawa  K1N 6N5


Tel: (613) 562-5800

        ext. 3316

Fax: (613) 562-5124

Project Manager,

Business & Human Rights Project,

Canadian Lawyers Association

for International Human Rights








ON BEHALF OF:      Canadian Lawyers Association for International Human Rights (CLAIHR)



                DATE:                        June 7, 2000



The DFAIT Corporate Social Responsibility Discussion Paper sets out a number of questions.  The submissions that follow represent the CLAIHR Business and Human Rights Project response to each query.  Given our mandate, we confine our comments to the human and labour rights dimension of corporate social responsibility. Our position on many of these issues is set out in several other documents that have been submitted to the Department, including


q       Legislative Proposal: Ensuring that the Special Economic Measures Act is a tool that may be used in responding to Canadian corporate complicity with "grave breaches of human rights and human security";

q       Backgrounder: Options available to the Government of Canada in responding to Canadian corporate complicity with human rights abuses;

q       Submissions to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Review of the OECD Guidelines For Multinational Enterprises.


Material contained in these documents is only partially repeated here.  Additional copies of these papers are available upon request.


1. What is the significance for business operations of having an industry-wide or country-specific company code? Are these mechanisms helpful and/or useful in terms of actual operations on the ground?


            It is trite to say that over the last decade there has been a proliferation of company codes of conduct dealing with a variety of issues. Some estimates suggesting that upwards of 85% of large US companies have codes of some sort.[i]  Fewer companies have codes dealing with the human rights implications of their overseas operations.  In a 1996 survey of 150 US multinational corporations in sectors deemed likely to have supplier codes, San Francisco-based Business for Social Responsibility found that 25 firms had human rights codes.[ii] Another survey by Boston-based Franklin Research and Development found that roughly 10% of US multinationals had overseas human rights guidelines.[iii] A more comprehensive survey on the child labour practices of US retailers and textile manufacturers by the US Department of Labor in 1996 revealed that of 42 major textile retailers and manufacturers surveyed and willing to make public their responses, 36 had adopted some form of policy specifically prohibiting the use of child labour in overseas production facilities. Two of the respondents also had country human rights guidelines that they used to determine in which countries they would invest.[iv]  Finally, a content analysis of a 1998 International Sourcing Report from the New York-based Council on Economic Priorities surveying prominent US corporations, suggests that 80 of the 145 responding businesses had codes of conduct containing labour rights standards.[v]


            The proportion of corporations in Canada that have some sort of corporate code of conduct is also high.  Accounting firm KPMG, in a survey published in 2000, found that 86.4% of respondents in a survey of Canada's largest 1,000 companies "have a document that outlines their values and principles."[vi]  However, a 1996 survey of the 98 largest Canadian businesses operating internationally suggested that relatively few Canadian companies have codes of conduct dealing with the human rights impacts of their overseas operations.  While 49% of the respondent companies reported possessing international codes of conduct, only 32% had codes containing some of the core labour rights, while only 14% had codes containing all the core labour rights.  Similarly, only 14% had any sort of provision touching on business relations with repressive regimes.[vii]  The more recent KMPG survey contained broadly similar results.[viii]


As the DFAIT discussion paper correctly notes, there is a sharp debate regarding the effectiveness of codes.  The dilemma implicit in the use of corporate codes of conduct as means of promoting human rights is illustrated by the example of South Africa. In 1977, the Reverend Leon Sullivan, a member of the General Motors board of directors, proposed the Sullivan Principles dealing with the behaviour of US corporations in South Africa. The Principles outlined a code of conduct designed to allow US corporations to operate in South Africa without partaking in the systematic human rights abuses characteristic of the apartheid regime.  Many observers feel that firms generally did a good job abiding by the Principles.[ix] However, the success of the codes stemmed not so much from the altruism or social responsibility of the corporations as from the realization that the alternative to the code was full-scale economic sanctions. Corporations were also motivated by potent shareholder pressure from large public pension funds and constraints imposed by US state and municipal governments on procurement from businesses operating in South Africa.[x] In the absence of these "big sticks," adherence to the Principles may well have been less marked.


            Critics contend that most modern human rights codes have been introduced by corporations, not so much in response to a management commitment to corporate social responsibility, but largely in reaction to external pressures.[xi] These pressures include developments in trade law, including the introduction by the United States of a series of unilateral measures protecting worker rights.[xii] Other developments in this area include the labour rights regime under the NAFTA side agreement and the (now diminished) prospect of linkages between trade and labour rights at the WTO.[xiii]  Litigation in US courts stemming from violations of human rights abroad has also served as an incentive to adopt codes.[xiv] Further, pressure for corporate social responsibility from consumers, whether private or institutional, has become more marked, particularly in the retail sector,[xv] as have demands from shareholders and investors.[xvi]


            These observations regarding the importance of external pressures in inducing appropriate corporate behaviour are echoed in a March 1998 report from Canada's department of industry. Discussing conditions conducive to successful code development, the report notes that


[w]hile codes are voluntary -- firms are not legislatively required to develop or adhere to them -- the term 'voluntary' is something of a misnomer.  Voluntary codes are usually a response to the real or perceived threat of a new law, regulation or trade sanctions, competitive pressures or opportunities, or consumer and other market or public pressures...[O]nce the code is in place, the initial pressure that led to its creation may dissipate, which could cause compliance among adherents to taper off.[xvii]


The 1998 Industry Canada study urged that "voluntary codes that are well designed and properly implemented can help achieve public-interest goals...However, a code that is poorly designed, improperly implemented, or used in inappropriate circumstances, can actually harm both its proponents and the public."[xviii] As noted by other observers, a code of conduct "is not a corporate compliance program -- it is only part of it, and maybe not even the more important part of a corporate compliance program."[xix]  As a consequence, "the existence of a formal written corporate code of conduct is evidence that a company has begun a process of instituting a self-regulation program, but it is not conclusive evidence that the process has been completed or that it is effective."[xx]


            Clearly, monitoring of a code is required to ensure compliance.  In 1996, in its study of corporate codes dealing with child labour, the US Department of Labor noted that "a credible system of monitoring -- to verify that a code is indeed being followed in practice -- is essential".[xxi]  However, relatively few corporations have codes that provide for reliable monitoring, let along the independent audits widely viewed by human rights groups as a key aspect of long-term code effectiveness.[xxii] As the Department of Labor put it, "most of the codes of the respondents do not contain detailed provisions for monitoring and implementation, and many of these companies do not have a reliable monitoring system in place."[xxiii] Overseas investigation by the Department revealed that "[w]hile monitoring for product quality, and even for health and safety conditions, is customary in the garment industry, the field visits by Department of Labor officials suggest that monitoring for compliance with provisions of the codes of conduct of U.S. garment importers dealing with other labour standards — and child labour in particular — is not."[xxiv] Where there is monitoring "there seems to be relatively little interaction between, on the one hand, monitors, and on the other hand, workers and the local community. It also appears that monitors have a technical background in production and quality control and are relatively untrained with regard to implementation of labor standards."[xxv]


            More recently, the 1998 Council on Economic Priorities report noted above suggests that only 1/3 of the companies with sourcing codes included language in their codes concerning monitoring.  If past patterns are any indication, even fewer of these companies rely on independent monitoring. In Canada, meanwhile, only 14% of the respondent firms in the 1996 survey reported use of independent monitors, while the 2000 KPMG survey suggests that even where companies include labour rights in their codes, few actively monitor these rights.[xxvi]



Given these findings, while voluntary codes of conduct represent one popular approach to overseas human rights concerns, a poorly drafted and implemented code of conduct is, at best, useless and, at worst, counterproductive insofar as it gives the appearance of action where none has been taken.   Notably, in part because of the pressure/response mode of code development and because of the expense and technical difficulty in developing the independent monitoring necessary to render these codes credible, "claims about the transformative potential of private initiatives may be overstated."[xxvii]  If, as the research cited above suggests, codes are successful to the extent that the external pressures are strong, then the development and effective implementation of codes will continue to be dependent on the glare of publicity and will disproportionately affect companies with a image and reputation to protect, particularly those in the consumer goods sector.  Maintaining and broadening the spotlight on the multitude of companies, and ensuring adherence to codes, will tax the limited resources of human rights and labour groups, effectively rendering many companies immune from scrutiny.


            Further, given the present preoccupation with corporate codes of conduct, some concern may be expressed that a focus on such voluntary measures will take pressure off governments to work towards more systematic means of encouraging respect for international human rights, such as linkages between trade and human rights.  Relying on the existence of codes to justify a failure to take more binding action would be problematic for two reasons.  First, any view on the part of policy makers that codes represent a replacement for mandatory measures ignores the fact that codes are generally developed as a response to external pressures.  Second, as was noted recently by a European Parliament Rapporteur on codes of conduct, "[v]oluntary regulation can do a great deal to promote better practice, but the worst offences will only ever be prevented through national and international laws and binding rules. Such systems can operate in parallel: binding rules to ensure minimum standards and voluntary initiatives to promote higher standards."[xxviii]  Thus, at best voluntary codes represent a partial solution.


4. Should the federal government take the lead in initiating policies which would make the observance of certain CSR guidelines a condition for business participation in government-initiated activities such as Team Canada visits, government contracts?



It follows from the discussion above that a key inducement for corporations to adopt and abide by codes of conduct involves what Industry Canada calls "pressures for code development".  Government conditionalities are a key pressure.  At present, however, the Government of Canada does not condition access to the many services it provides business on adequate CSR behaviour.  To put it bluntly, repeated calls by the government for Canadian corporate responsibility -- for example, Minister Axworthy's comments on Talisman Energy -- lack credibility if the Government of Canada is unprepared to put its programs where its policy assertions are.


As the Department is aware, the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has noted that the government "provides extensive trade and overseas investment promotion services, including the granting of invitations on Team Canada trade missions, without first assessing the company's human rights record".[xxix]  The Committee has recommended that "[i]n order to ensure that Canadian public funds are being spent in a manner that complements Canadian values, the provision of federal assistance to support commercial activity should be made conditional on adherence to the minimum international standard for human rights."[xxx]  In this regard, the Standing Committee cited with approval a recommendation made by CLAIHR that


Laws should be promulgated (a) conditioning government procurement on adherence by firms to country guidelines and core labour rights in their overseas operations; (b) conditioning financial and investment support contributions by government agencies, including the Export Development Corporation and CIDA, on adherence by firms to country guidelines and core labour rights in their overseas operations; and (c) requiring that adherence to these [standards] be assessed with reference to independently audited reports.[xxxi]


            Unfortunately, the government has thusfar rejected any efforts to impose a formal human rights screen on financial support extended to companies by the government-owned Export Development Corporation[xxxii] and has not moved on any of the other proposals noted by the Senate, even though doing so would, in the words of the Committee, "mesh well" with the government's endorsement of voluntary codes of conduct.


In addition, at present, a window of opportunity exists for government to amend Canada's federal corporate law to facilitate shareholder activism on corporate social responsibility matters. Section 137 of the Canada Business Corporations Act allows management to reject proposals on a number of grounds. Most important from the human rights perspective: the proposal can be rejected where it clearly appears (to management) that the proposal is being submitted primarily for the purposes of promoting general economic, political, racial, religious, social or similar causes.  These terms provide enormous discretion to management to exclude shareholder proposals dealing with social responsibility matters.  In fact, the section effectively bars shareholders from expressing concern on social responsibility issues, including human rights, unless the proposal is strongly couched in language dealing with more traditional business matters. Even then, nothing stops management from abusing the section to avoid proposals questioning the business impacts of poor human rights behaviour.


Companies often do not hesitate in rejecting proposals, including those relating to human rights matters.  In February 1999, 11 churches and religious orders from Canada and the US submitted shareholder proposals to Talisman Energy.  This proposal asked the Board to assure shareholders that the company was not materially aiding the Sudanese government in its civil war in that country nor in its repeated violations of internationally accepted standards of human rights.  The company was also asked to prepare an independently verified report of its compliance with this commitment.   On February 2, 1999, Talisman rejected the proposal on two grounds.  One of these grounds was an allegation that the proposal clearly appeared to be submitted primarily for the purpose of promoting general economic, political, racial, religious, social or similar causes, despite the clear business implications of operating in the midst of a civil war. 


Unfortunately, the amendments to the Canada Business Corporations Act recently tabled as Bill S-19 do little to eliminate the present bar on ethical shareholder activism and in fact, in net, further restrict the important shareholder proposal process.  The bottom line is that while Minister Axworthy calls upon companies like Talisman to act responsibly, the company's owners may be precluded by Canada's corporate law from doing the same.



            In sum, if the Government of Canada is committed to promoting adequate behaviour by Canada's corporations operating internationally, it must strive for greater policy coherence.  Given this discussion, any endorsement by the Canadian Government of voluntary codes must, first, be of well-drafted codes containing a series of clear standards. Given past experience with poorly implemented codes, only codes that contain some measure of independent and credible monitoring are worthy of endorsement.  Third, any code endorsement undertaken by the Government should be complemented with measures creating what the federal industry department calls "conditions conducive to successful code development"; namely, "pressures for code development".  Taking the steps recommended by the Standing Senate Committee in the section above would undoubtedly constitute important pressures for code development, as would liberalizing the restrictions on ethical shareholder activism extant in the present federal corporate law. Finally, as is discussed below, given the shortcomings of voluntary measures as an overarching regulatory tool, the present Government fondness for codes should in no way detract from a more aggressive Canadian policy favouring a multilateral linkage between trade and labour.


5.Should CSR considerations be included in trade negotiations and/or agreements?


            As is noted above, voluntary codes represent only a partial solution.  Despite the increasing number of such codes, they remain most prevalent in large, image-sensitive firms.  Achieving forward progress on issues such as international labour standards will require more than sporadic, usually media and consumer-driven, corporate responsibility by a handful of large Western companies.  In the absence of common, universally enforceable standards, there will always be defectors who undercut responsible norms in search of a competitive advantage. In the context of labour rights, as labour represents an important, if declining, cost of production, there may be strong incentives for companies and countries to compete by debasing even minimal international labour standards.[xxxiii]  The OECD, in a 1996 study, found "evidence that some governments felt that restricting certain core labour standards would help attract inward FDI [foreign direct investment]."[xxxiv]   In addition, the OECD has conceded that some firms may in fact respond to the cost advantages of repression. The OECD notes that "in a number of...countries which are among the primary destination for OECD investment, the record of compliance with core labour standards is tarnished, particularly with respect to freedom-of-association rights, although to different degrees."[xxxv]  According to the OECD, "there is no definitive evidence on the extent to which FDI responds to the level of core labour standards."[xxxvi] In fact, "low or non-existent labour standards may have a detrimental effect on FDI decisions.  They indicate a risk of future social discontent and unrest, and include the risk of consumer boycotts."[xxxvii]  However, "it is readily admitted that expectations of high profitability due to the economic environment provided in host countries may be able to outweigh some of the concerns foreign investors [have] about low levels of observance of core labour standard by host government[s]."[xxxviii]  Further, while the OECD was not able to identify what impacts multinationals have on core labour rights, it did note that multinationals employ most of the workers in the world's export processing zones (EPZs). As such, "the radically lower degree of unionization in EPZs in comparison with the domestic economy as a whole could suggest that [multinational businesses] do not contribute to the improvement of the practical situation of unions"[xxxix] and, one might infer from other practices in these zones, [xl] of labour rights generally. This conclusion, coupled with the rash of recent controversies related to poor labour practices by suppliers for major Western firms operating overseas,[xli] suggest that the common approach of many businesses to core labour standards is strongly inconsistent with corporate social responsibility.


            At present, establishing a common, enforceable baseline for labour and other corporate social responsibility standards is possible only through a formal linkage of trade and CSR.  As a final point, a trade regime that regulates the circulation of goods produced via pirated technologies, but that views as outside of its competence the regulation of trade in goods produced under conditions violating international human rights law, lacks all credibility.


 6. Are there particular advantages to international versus national, sectoral and/or individual business approaches to CSR ? Should the federal government be working with international organizations to develop voluntary codes of conduct for business that can be promoted internationally?


            Establishing international benchmarks to which all countries should abide is always preferable to the articulation of strictly national standards.  For this reason, in the area of social responsibility that most concerns CLAIHR, it will always be preferable to refer to international human rights and labour standards than to some amorphous concept of "Canadian values".  On the other hand, seeking a multilateral consensus should not preclude unilateral action.  As it stands, Canada lags far behind the United States and the United Kingdom in its work on CSR. 


7.What is the role of other partners and stakeholders in CSR initiatives? Is there a useful role for government in fostering business-public interest partnerships?


            Nothing bars government from acting as a facilitator.  However, the more important role for government is to act as an "inducer".  Conditionalities and the threat of government regulation should the corporate sector prove recalcitrant are the key government contribution.  In the absence of such measures stakeholders and government are left to exhort a standard of behaviour, the violation of which has no consequences for those companies uninterested in such matters.


3.On certain vexed issues, such as the role of businesses in conflict prevention and the promotion of good governance, is there, and what might be an effective role for governments, and/or alternatively, the international community?


See below.


2. Are there areas of policy research or specific initiatives that the government might undertake to assist the private sector in developing appropriate CSR mechanisms, for example, the development of a "guide for Canadian companies operating overseas"? Could Canada's overseas missions play a role?


Canadian foreign policy presently remains predicated on a "constructive engagement" model of peace-building and human rights promotion.  However, there are clear instances where the presence of a corporation can exacerbate conflict and human rights abuses.  At the end of the day, in such circumstances, the net impact of the company may well be negative.  The obvious case in point is Talisman's project in Sudan. It is imperative that the government devise a policy to grapple with such situations. 


            First, there is an urgent need for government to co-operate with civil society and businesses in devising "human rights impact assessments" or guidelines enumerating steps companies should take to mitigate the negative impacts of their operations.  Such standards were articulated in the code for Canadian corporate operations in apartheid South Africa.  Similar standards are urgently needed for other countries, including China.


            Second, where companies refuse to take steps mitigating their negative impacts, the government must have instruments that encourage appropriate behaviour.  Where the net consequences of the company's presence are negative, instruments must exist that oblige a company to withdraw.  The conditionalities discussed above are an important first step.  Also essential is a sanctions law that can be used to compel a company to withdraw. 



[i]            See Frank Bradley, "Prepare to make a moral judgement," People Management (May 4, 1995).

[ii]           See Douglass Cassel, "Corporate Initiatives: A Second Human Rights Revolution?" Fordham International Law Journal 199 (1996): 1974.

[iii]              The Franklin pollsters focused on major US retailers and brand name goods manufacturers. Telephone Interview with Simon Billenness, Franklin Research and Development (February 1997).

[iv]              US Department of Labor, The Apparel Industry and Codes Of Conduct: A Solution To The International Child Labor Problem? (1996), 370. The Department of Labor survey focused on the largest apparel manufacturers, department stores and mass merchandisers as measured by 1995 annual sales figures.

[v]               Council on Economic Priorities, International Sourcing Report (March 1998).

[vi]              KPMG Ethics Survey  –2000: Managing for Ethical Practice, at <> as of April 2000.

[vii]             This 1996 CLAIHR/ICHRDD survey is reported in Forcese, Commerce with Conscience? (Montreal: International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, 1997).

[viii]             In a survey of 48 companies having operations outside Canada or the United States, KPMG found that, 14.6% had policies on supplier child and forced labor practices, 25% on supplier discrimination practices and 16.7% on supplier freedom of association/collective bargaining practices.  As concerned their own overseas operations, 16.7% of the companies had policies on child and forced labor, 41.7% on discrimination and 33.3% on freedom of association/collective bargaining.  Some 29.2% of companies had formal policies on the "human rights status of host countries" in countries in which they operated.  See KPMG, Ethics Survey.

[ix]              See discussion in Lance Compa and Tashia Hinchliffe-Darricarrére, "Enforcing International Labor Rights through Corporate Codes of Conduct," Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 33 (1995): 674 and in Robert Liubicic, "Corporate codes of conduct and product labeling schemes: The limits and possibilities of promoting international labor rights through private initiatives," Law and Policy of International Business 30 (1998): 123, 124.

[x]               See Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce. (Montreal: International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, 1997).

[xi]              See comments in Compa and Hinchliffe-Darricarrére, "Enforcing International Labor Rights", and those in Jeremy Lehrer, "Trading Profits for Change," Human Rights 25 (1998): 21 and in Debora Spar, "The spotlight and the bottom line," Foreign Affairs (Mar/Apr 1998): 7. Similarly, codes of conduct introduced to govern business domestic operations reflect the emergence of external pressures.  As one study examining US codes has noted, "during the period 1960 to 1994, many of the Fortune 1000 companies have voluntarily enacted corporate codes of conduct, and...this activity coincides with the growth in regulatory, prosecutorial, and judicial incentives for corporate self-regulation during this period." John Ruhnka and Heidi Boerstler, "Governmental incentives for corporate self-regulation," Journal of Business Ethics 17 (1998): 3.

[xii]             In 1984, Congress added labor conditions on the extension and renewal of General System of Preferences tariff benefit to potentially eligible nations. An infringement of "internationally recognized worker rights" would remove a nation from eligibility under the system. 19 U.S.C. § 2702(b)(7). Removal of these benefits might prove highly disruptive to corporate activities if imposed on nations in which businesses have invested or from which they are sourcing. See Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce. For the relationship between these measures and codes, see Compa and Hinchliffe-Darricarrére, "Enforcing International Labor Rights": 675.

[xiii]             Ibid., 674.

[xiv]             Ibid.

[xv]             For a more detailed discussion of these campaigns, see Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce. US surveys suggest that a sizeable majority of Americans prefer to buy from a retailer they know is not sourcing products or materials from sweatshops. See John McClain, "Government Fingers Retailers that Sell Sweatshop‑Made Clothing," Associated Press (Dec. 5, 1995): "69 percent of Americans are more likely to shop at stores on the list [of non-sweatshop using business prepared by the US Department of Labor]." See also Vivian Marino, "Garment Workers Get Attention," Associated Press (June 18, 1996): "A recent poll by Marymount University in Arlington, Va., said 84 percent of 1,008 individuals questioned would pay a dollar more for a garment that cost $20, if it were guaranteed to be made at a legitimate factory. Seventy‑eight percent would avoid shopping at stores that sell garments made in sweatshops." In Canada, a 1998 CROP survey commissioned by Toronto-based Ideation Conferences suggests that a majority of Canadians consider conditions of production when buying consumer goods. Further, a majority of Canadians are prepared to pay higher prices for ethically produced products. In fact, given a choice between two products of equivalent price, almost a 1/3 of Canadians would prefer to purchase a product made by a human rights-respecting U.S. company over a product simply produced by a Canadian company.

[xvi]             See Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce. 

[xvii]            Government of Canada, Voluntary Codes: A Guide for their Development and Use (March 1998), 8-9.

[xviii]           Ibid., in preface.

[xix]             Ruhnka and Boerstler, "Governmental incentives".

[xx]             Ibid.

[xxi]             US Department of Labor, The Apparel Industry, 9.

[xxii]            For a discussion of independent monitoring, see Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce.

[xxiii]           US Department of Labor, The Apparel Industry, v, 9.

[xxiv]           Ibid., 101.

[xxv]            Ibid., 107.

[xxvi]           Of 48 companies with non-US or Canadian operations surveyed by KPMG, the following proportion of companies actively monitored their own practices:  child labor (12.5%); forced labor (10.4%); freedom of association/collective bargaining (16.7%); discrimination (29.2%).  The following proportion actively monitored supplier practices: child labor (14.6%); forced labor (12.5%); freedom of association/collective bargaining (6.3%); discrimination (18.8%).  See KMPG, Ethics Survey.

[xxvii]           Robert Liubicic, "Corporate codes of conduct and product labeling schemes: The limits and possibilities of promoting international labor rights through private initiatives," Law and Policy of International Business 30 (1998):149.

[xxviii]          Richard Howitt, Report On EU Standards For European Enterprises Operating In Developing Countries, European Parliament, PE228.198/DEF.

[xxix]           Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Asia in Crisis, 105.

[xxx]            Ibid.,110.

[xxxi]           Ibid., 107, citing Craig Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce. On the issue of government procurement, the European Union and Japan brought a now-suspended trade complaint against the United States for a Massachusetts Burma selective purchasing law barring dealings with companies operating in Burma. It remains to be seen, however, whether the Massachusetts law is in fact violates trade law.  For a recent discussion of issues surrounding the Massachusetts law, see Jennifer Loeb-Cederwall, "Restrictions on trade in Burma: Bold moves or foolish acts?" New England Law Review 32 (1998).  For a discussion of selective purchasing laws at the municipal level, see Craig Forcese, "Municipal buying power and human rights in Burma: The case for Canadian municipal selective purchasing policies," University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review 56 (1998).

[xxxii]           For the position of the NGO coalition working on the EDC, see Race to the Top: How to make the Export Development Corporation responsible to people and the environment, at <> as of May 2000.  The report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Exporting in the Canadian Interest, is at  <>, while the government position on the issue is at  <>, both as of May 2000.

[xxxiii]          OECD, Trade and Labour Standards, COM/DEELSA/TD(95)5 (1995), 40: "...there is some evidence that over the short-run, episodes of improvements of freedom of association can be associated with a loss of competitiveness."

[xxxiv]          OECD, Trade, Employment and Labour Standards: A Study of Core Workers' Rights and International Trade, COM/DEELSA/TD(96) 8/FINAL (1996), 36, 47.

[xxxv]           Ibid., 46.

[xxxvi]          Ibid.

[xxxvii]         Ibid., 47.

[xxxviii]         Ibid.

[xxxix]          Ibid., 49.

[xl]              See United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Investment Report: Globalization, Integrated International Production And The World Economy (New York: United Nations, 1994).  For a discussion of labor conditions in EPZs, see International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Behind the Wire: Anti‑Union Repression in the Export Processing Zones, at <> as of February 1999.

[xli]             For a discussion of these controversies, see Craig Forcese, Commerce with Conscience? (Montreal: International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development 1997) and Craig Forcese, Putting Conscience into Commerce (Montreal: International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development 1997).